Alleged N11.5bn fraud: Court orders EFCC official, six others to appear in Alao-Akala’s trial

Alao Akala
Adebayo Alao-Akala

A High Court in Ibadan on Thursday ordered an official of the EFCC, Muhammed Goldy, to appear to testify in the alleged N11.5 billion fraud case filed against former Oyo State Governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, and two others.

The EFCC charged Mr Alao-Akala; a former Oyo State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Hosea Agboola; and a businessman, Femi Babalola, on 11 counts of conspiracy and fraud.

Justice Olalekan Owolabi issued the summons on the defendants, after the EFCC counsel, Benedict Ubi, prayed the court for the order.

Mr Owolabi also issued witness summons on officials from the Oyo State Ministry of Finance, Olutoyin Akanmu, Florence Oyebanji and Adebayo Bankole.

Others are Ademola Ojo of No 4 Bodija area, Thomas Oladokun from Oyo State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters and Director, Federal Ministry of Works in-charge of Oyo and Osun States.

The judge held that the application moved by the prosecutor was a bit late, but it was proper to grant it in the interest of fair hearing.

The judge also held that the application to close the case of the prosecution, earlier moved by the defence counsel would amount to denying the prosecutor fair hearing.

He adjourned the case until February 14 for continuation of hearing.

Earlier, the prosecutor had informed the court that several efforts made to invite the witnesses from the Oyo State Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters and others who are contractors in the execution of the project, failed.

Hakeem Afolabi, SAN, counsel to Messrs Alao-Akala and Babalola’s, prayed the court to close of the prosecution’s case.

Mr Afolabi said his clients were arraigned in 2011 and the case had been on for eight years.

He said that trial commenced on June 29,2018, 19 months ago, and the prosecution only called two witnesses since then.

Mr Afolabi said the defence could not continue to wait for the prosecutor and applied that the case of the prosecution be closed.

Mr Agboola’s counsel, Richard Ogunwole, SAN, aligned with the submission of Mr Afolabi, adding that the prosecution was not prepared to go on with the case.

The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges and had been granted bail.

(NAN)


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